What should I do if my child is being cyberbullied?

Emotional distress
Social withdrawal
Low self-esteem, anxiety, depression

Declining grades in schoolwork
School refusal
Suicidal ideation

  • Remind your children to block the cyberbullies
  • Do not reply to cyberbullies, as this may stimulate further intimidation
  • Do not delete cyberbullies’ messages which may be used as evidence
  • Request the Internet service provider to remove the offensive messages or pictures
  • Monitor whether the bullying continues, report to police if necessary

Department of Health
Student Health Service
Healthy Use of Internet and Electronic Screen Products

What should I do if my child is being cyberbullied? Q&A 1

How do I know when my child is being cyberbullied?

Communicate with school and observe your children's behaviours.

Children who are cyberbullied may exhibit the following signs:

  • Showing signs of significant emotional distress after using the Internet.
  • Becoming more anxious when emails or texts arrive.
  • Declining grades and loss of interest in schoolwork.
  • Being bullied at school.
  • Avoidance of social situations or not wanting to go to school.

What should I do if my child is being cyberbullied? Q&A 2

If my children receive cyber-bullying messages, what should I do?

  • Cyber-bullying can cause emotional distress, lower self-esteem, social anxiety and damage of trust on people. Parents need to be serious and understanding when their children are confronted with these threats. Let the children know we will stand by their side.

  • Some children may avoid telling their parents about a cyberbullying incident either fearing that parents may make things worse or negating their worries immediately. Therefore, blaming the child for possible misdeeds that attract bullying and / or underestimating their concerns should be avoided. Parents are advised to stay calm, support their children, encourage and accept their expression of feelings. The following are some suggestions to handle cyber-bullying with your children:
    • Do not reply to cyberbullies, as this may stimulate further intimidation
    • Do not delete cyberbullies' messages which may be used as evidence late
    • Do not post personal information, such as email address, telephone number and portrait photographs, to any websites, which provide further chances of bullying
    • Report the bullying incident to the Internet service provider or social network manager for their follow up
    • Accompany your children to seek help from school guidance staff and/or social worker if bullying is suspected
    • Monitor whether the bullying continues, report to police if necessary

What should I do if my child is being cyberbullied? Q&A 3

How do I teach my children to maintain "cyber-safety"?

Teach and remind our children as follows:

  • Do not release sensitive personal information, such as personal name, telephone number, address, identity card number or name of school, in Internet and social network to prevent others' possible misuse.

  • Set social networking profile to "Private” to ban strangers to browse, download or copy their personal information for improper use.

  • Only chat and interact with people they actually know in real life; do not add strangers as friends in Internet.

  • State clearly to friends that they need to ask for permission before uploading or tagging your children's photos or sensitive information on their social networking profiles, and vice versa.

  • Protect their computers and smartphones by setting up password and change periodically. For important materials or application software containing sensitive messages, multiple passwords are essential and keep them private. Do not save the passwords in computers or smartphones.

  • Avoid using public computer or Wi-Fi to log in personal account. Avoid giving personal information into computer intended for public use. If using a public computer, switch off the automatic recording function of the computer for browsing, and log out properly to prevent their personal account from others’ misuse.

  • Install and update antivirus software and firewall to the computer and smartphone to ensure protection against virus and malicious programmes

  • Never open suspicious or unidentified emails, attached files or download software from unofficial source to avoid possible attacks from spy or malicious programmes.

  • Tell children to get our permission before making purchase through the Internet. Choose reputable agents and platform for transaction. Pay attention to detailed information of the products, money amount and way of payments.

  • Do not regard Internet as an anonymous environment and act recklessly. Beware of the wide coverage and everlasting nature of Internet world, think for the consequences before sending out messages, and understand that all persons need to hold responsibilities for their acts in the Internet world, behave decently, respect others and comply with the laws.

  • Seek help from us if they encounter problems or queries.

More information: Sm@rt e-team Parents、Teachers、Primary School Students、Secondary School Students
Healthy Use of Internet and Electronic Products

Student Health Service, Department of Health